Slowing down the speed of decisions

Published by Jake Standing on 14 April 2020

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This is the first of a “So, what now?” series, where we will re-imagine what our world could look like post-virus. Stay tuned as we will be releasing our team’s thoughts over the coming weeks, working remotely from across the South East of the UK.

I think it’s fair to say that the COVID-19 pandemic has given most of us a test we have not experienced before in our lifetime. The last global recession in 2008 will have caused some grief, but certainly not at the speed and magnitude we are experiencing now.

We are being driven to make quick decisions which may not be the best course of action. Who else found themselves buying something at the supermarket just because they felt they had to, to feel in control? When the pace of change is rapid and dramatic, the temptation to react immediately will be there. Decisions made in haste may not always be the right ones or the best ones.

Have business owners also felt this way and made decisions in their business before taking stock of the other factors at play? Made their employees redundant ahead of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme announcement by Rishi Sunak?

The Scheme is applicable to those people who are reinstated from their job, but there will be irreparable damage to employee trust in that business, once the dust settles.

Try to slow down your decision making. Pause and breath. Take time to consult with others in the business, your advisers and other business leaders that might help you to consider different angles allowing you to make decisions with confidence.

In many cases it is likely that business owners will not have all the information needed to make decisions. The Government’s response has been superb, but equally it has left many of us craving more definition and asking more questions on how things are to work in practical terms. It’s important to know the facts before jumping to decisions.

A great article by Harvard Business Review stresses the need and reasons behind “Slowing down to make better decisions in a crisis” – and is worth a read here. The actions that are taken now will last in the memory for a very long time, and employer brands may be made, or broken. This is where the Culture and Values of an organisation are really tested.

With that in mind, we’ve put together some questions that a business owner should ask themselves at this time, when planning the next few months ahead for their team:

  • Could we redeploy employees to other roles/teams that may now be overwhelmed by demand?
  • Could we use this time to innovate and develop our asset, move to an online proposition, improve our business model?
  • Do we have employees who may wish to be furloughed, or work reduced hours, so that they can dedicate time to childcare, shielding the vulnerable, or volunteer as part of the rallying call to the NHS?
  • Can you re-order work priorities so that non-critical projects are pushed back a certain period of time?

Regardless of decision, it is as important as ever to actively consult and update your employees. These are decisions that will affect lives, and they will certainly be remembered when restrictions are lifted.

At Kreston Reeves, we are getting to grips with the detail as it’s released to be able to help you understand what it means for your business. We can often take a more objective, considered view. If you wish to speak with us about any of the topics explored in this article, please contact us here.

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